Frequent moves can have a negative impact on a child’s educational, health and social development. In 2007, the Committee on Justice for Children was instrumental in the passage of a law (Act 325) during the legislative session to ensure notice to all parties and the court about impending placement changes of children in foster care. The purpose of this notice is to allow an opportunity for all parties to raise an objection to the placement change, as well as to seek review of reasonable efforts to prevent multiple unnecessary placement changes.
Another important aspect of placement stability involves the problem of out-of-county placements. Due to a lack of local foster resources, many counties find that their foster children are placed far away. This is a traumatic disruption of continuity for these children and tears them away from their family, friends, schools, and support networks. Out-of-county placement often makes it very difficult for children and parents to have regular visits. It also makes difficulties for child attorneys, guardians ad litem, and caseworkers who must visit children regularly.
J4C, in partnership with the Council of Juvenile Court Judges and DFCS, is working on ways to improve local foster recruitment, and exploring ways to enhance judicial oversight of placement resources.